Human-animal embryos approved in UK


Plans for the creation of human-animal embryos were approved in principal today by British officials at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

As previously reported by CNA, scientists submitted their most recent request to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to approve the technique of merging human and animal embryos, which they say will help advance research into medical treatments such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The Guardian reports that a study administered by HFEA found that 61% of people agree with the creation of human-animal embryos in order to understand diseases. “Most support was expressed for the creation of so-called cytoplasmic hybrid embryos, in which a human cell is inserted into an empty animal egg. Other hybrid embryos, such as those created by fertilising an animal egg with human sperm, or vice versa, were less well supported.”

However, religious officials disagree saying that “the work blurs the distinction between humans and animals, and creates embryos that are destined to be destroyed when stem cells are extracted from them.  Bishops have previously spoken out saying they did not believe the hybrid embryos should be destroyed once they are brought into existence.

Now that the creation of these embryos has been approved, the two already-submitted applications for creating the human-animal embryos, will be forwarded to a committee which will make a decision within three months.

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